Man convicted in 1996 Evansville murdered denied request to be in transition program

Man convicted in 1996 Evansville murdered denied request to be in transition program

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - One of two men convicted in a 1996 Murder has been denied entry into a community transition program.

Jason Wentz was convicted of killing Donna Heseman at a then Bristol-Myers Squib parking lot.

We've reported he was eligible for the transition program at the end of this month.

Circuit Court Judge David Kiely tells us the program could mean work release or probation.

According to court records, Wentz wrote a letter to Judge Kiely in October asking he be placed in that program. We’ve learned Judge Kiely denied the request on Oct. 22. Judge Kiely tells us the request was denied because of the nature of the crimes.

A member of Donna Heseman’s family reacted. Her brother, Ed Smith, said the murder has affected so many people. Smith said the judge made the right call.

“I don’t think the judge judged him personally, because I don’t know if he ever has talked to Jason Wentz," says Smith. "But he judged the actions of Jason Wentz. And with those actions, and with those entire proceedings, then he made absolutely the right call in declining that early transitional period.”

According to records from the Indiana Department of Corrections, Wentz’s earliest possible release date is March 26th, 2020.

He is right now in a short-term offender facility.

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